In this article, you'll learn about the following:
The insights gathered from your campaigns provide a narrative of your visitors' online interactions with your website. Therefore, ensuring the utmost accuracy of this data is of paramount importance. Each website analytics platform presents its data uniquely, emphasizing the need to comprehend the evaluative dimensions of these platforms to draw meaningful conclusions from the data they offer.
Divergent evaluation methodologies employed by these tools could potentially account for inconsistency in the data presented across these platforms. Here are a few factors detailing why the data presented in VWO might contrast with that found in Google Analytics (GA):
Discrepancies Due to Configuration
These are the discrepancies that arise due to the lack of configuration parity maintained in both applications, which can be averted by exercising due diligence.
|Timezone and date range
|The report data will be presented in accordance with the configured time zone in the respective tools or applications. Thus, if the timezone is different between the tools, the data will differ accordingly for the specific date range.
For example, if GA is configured with PMT and VWO is configured with IST, there will be a corresponding mismatch in the reporting for the specific date range owing to the timezone differences
|Ensure to keep the time zones similar on both platforms and then check the numbers for the same date range.
Refer to the steps mentioned in VWO and GA articles to manage your timezone settings, respectively
The differences in the configuration of cookie consent would lead to differences in visitor count and subsequently impact the metrics and other dependent parameters.
For example, keeping VWO in the strictly necessary cookie category while keeping GA as an optional one will execute the code snippets at different triggers, thereby impacting the tracking
|Ensure that code snippets for the respective tools are configured under the same cookie consent category so that both tools will track the visitors on the same consent condition for uniform visitor tracking
|Tracking code implementation issues
The tracking of visitors relies on the tracking code implementation. Pages without the tracking code won't be part of the results.
For instance, a scenario where VWO’s SmartCode is installed only on specific pages while GA code is installed site-wide could lead to divergent data
|Ensure that VWO tracking code / GA code is installed across all the website pages where tracking needs to be done. This would ensure that the data is tracked consistently across all the website pages by both tools
|Filtering and segmentation
The difference in filters, segment conditions, or campaign trigger configuration could lead to data distinctions.
For example, GA may exclude specific IP addresses or track only certain pages, while VWO may include all of them or vice versa
Ensure that similar segment conditions, filters and triggers are applied across the tools.
If you are tracking only desktop visitors in VWO, ensure to filter the respective device type in GA as well.
Additionally, check if you have applied any campaign trigger in VWO and try to add the same event condition to your GA report.
|URL / Pages Configuration Issues
The tracking of visitors in VWO completely relies on the URL/ Pages implementation in the campaign. Pages that have been included in the campaign will only be tracked in VWO. Tracking will not be done on the URLs which have not been included in the campaign.
For example, a scenario where VWO targets specific pages while GA tracks the entire site could lead to imbalanced data interpretation
Ensure to fetch the results for the same set of URLs amongst both the tools.
|Changes in Campaign Course
|Altering the campaign settings, such as the campaign URL, including an excluded URL, flushing the campaign data, and starting and pausing the campaign multiple times could possibly lead to disparity in the resultant numbers.
For instance, if you start a campaign in VWO on 1st August and then pause on 10th August. And start on 15th August again. This would not track the data in VWO between 11-14 August as the campaign was paused. But GA will still be tracking the data as the campaign pause does not apply there
Try to run a campaign after carefully considering all the factors from your hypotheses to prevent altering the campaign later.
If a change (like URL configuration, data flush, etc.) in a campaign is much needed, pause the existing campaign, clone the campaign and start the cloned campaign. Now, you can compare the data of the cloned campaign with that of GA for the same date range.
Discrepancies Due to Operational Differences
These are the discrepancies that arise due to the difference in the functionality of the applications. These differences should be noted, and the results should be weighed accordingly rather than directly comparing them with each other.
|GA uses data sampling for reporting on large data sets. Therefore, if your website has a large amount of traffic, the numbers you see in GA might be based on a sample, whereas VWO test campaigns report on all visitor data
You can check the sampling status in GA, as shown below and confirm if GA is showing the data for 100% of the audience or the sampled audience.
VWO tracks visitors, whereas GA tracks sessions as well as visitors.
A session in GA ends after 30 minutes of inactivity and at midnight. For example, if a user interacts with the website after 30 minutes of inactivity, the session count increases, while the visitor count remains unimpacted
Ensure to check the unique visitors' data in GA. You can use Total Users or Users as a metric and then compare it with VWO to confirm if the numbers are comparable.
|GA might consume up to 48 hours for reporting, whereas VWO provides real-time numbers
You can do historical report comparisons by viewing the data corresponding to the day before the current day on both platforms.
For example, for a campaign that has been executed from Aug 1 to Aug 31, you can set the date range from Aug 1 to Aug 30 on both VWO and GA and then check the numbers
|Page Load Issues
Partial page loading due to errors or slow connections may affect proper script firing for either tool
|Run frequent checks on your website to ensure it is free of page load errors
Discrepancies Due to Browser Settings
These are the discrepancies that may arise due to visitors’ browser settings, potentially influencing differences in reporting.
Visitors using ad blockers or privacy tools could hinder proper tracking by VWO or GA. This blocking might not always be consistent across the tools, leading to discrepancies.
There might be certain ad blockers that might interfere with specific tools.
Thus, there can be a small discrepancy because of these settings, leading to a difference in the overall data comparison
|Cookie settings in visitors’ browsers
|The tracking efficacy of VWO and GA is directly influenced by the cookie settings in the visitors’ browsers, such as disabling third-party cookies and Do Not Track (DNT) settings. Nevertheless, these tools exhibit varying effects because of this configuration disparity
Discrepancies Due to Divergent Conversion Criteria
Differing goal conversion definitions between GA and VWO can lead to corresponding variations in the results. It is significant to note that the options provided by these apps for defining conversions tend to have moderate to larger differences.
|Differences in conversion tracking mechanism
|The conversion tracking mechanism can differ for VWO and GA.
For instance, a page visits goal in VWO and GA can show different results. A page visit goal in VWO would be tracked only after a visitor becomes a part of the campaign before arriving at the goal URL. Whereas, GA would increment the conversion number as soon as a visitor lands on a goal URL
|Always understand the rationale behind the created goal and replicate the exact logic in the other tool.
For instance, a page visit goal in VWO can be checked in GA by creating a page sequence like this:
Page → Contains → Campaign URL
Page → Contains → Goal URL
This will actually create the same flow for the goal as in VWO
|Differences in the goal trigger condition
Any deviation in the goal trigger condition could cause a fluctuation in the numbers.
For example, if a form submission goal is to be recorded as a conversion in VWO, the same event should be tracked in GA as well. You can ensure to create goals basis the exact same event in both the tools to get accurate results.
The trigger condition for the goal should be consistent across the apps.
By acknowledging these factors, you can better understand and manage the differences between VWO and Google Analytics data, or any other third-party tool for that matter, leading to more accurate and insightful conclusions for optimizing your website's performance.